Bodybuilder - Male Body Image

Have you noticed the trend in Hollywood over the last two decades? I’m picturing a young Russell Crowe in “Gladiator” 2000. Brilliant. Powerful. Muscular. In today’s Hollywood though, he wouldn’t even be considered particularly muscular and he would have certainly had to look like Dwayne Johnson to play this role in 2021. Here’s the problem with that.


They’re lying. Or they’re told to lie.

Russell Crowe was natural. He achieved this look naturally. Eating, dieting, training. You know. He might not have the “perfect” genetics for muscular development, but he looked great in my opinion.

The sad truth is that most of Hollywood’s elite male actors today — the ones that build an incredibly muscular body for their leading roles in a relatively short period of time that is — lie when it comes to their exercise and eating routines. Or let me rephrase that: They skip over the important part.

I’ve just read a brilliant story by Pete Ross called “Is He Natural?” which examines several actors and their allegedly natural body transformation for a major movie role. Men like Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Frank Grillo, or Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. I highly recommend reading that story.

All these guys have one thing in common: They looked tremendously muscular and ripped for one or multiple high-paying movie roles in the past. Some have kept their physiques up, others lost their gains “surprisingly” quickly after their movie parts.


There are gifted specimens

Before cutting to the nitty-gritty, let me preface this by saying, something like natural gifted muscular development exists. There’s even a genetic feature called “the Hercules gene”. This may occur in a very, very, very small percentage of people worldwide. Some of them might be gifted with great genetics. But no, the actors above don’t have the Hercules gene.


This. Is. Not. Natural.

It’s simple. They’re taking PEDs (performance-enhancing drugs). I specifically stay away from the term “steroids” here, as steroids are just a small subset of PEDs. They’re also exercising brutally hard and dieting like crazy, no doubt. But that’s not all it is.

It’s simply not possible to achieve these kinds of body transformations naturally. In most cases. Not in a short period of time. It takes years or decades to get there. Not 6 months, or 3 months, or 6 weeks.

Even with millions of dollars for fitness trainers, equipment, chefs, the best foods, and hours of exercising, it’s hardly possible. Yes, this all helps a lot. Being paid millions of dollars for a transformation helps a ton too, I’m sure.

But let’s make it clear: These transformations are only obtainable through PED use.


The signs of PED use

Now, let me say it again: Please read the amazing story by Pete Ross as he perfectly illustrates why these actor body transformations are not natural, in most cases. He lists convincing reasons and conclusive “facts”. I applaud Pete’s excellent listing of red flags to determine whether or not someone is natural:

  1. Rapid transformation: Anything less than a year. Doubtful.
  2. Age: Over 40, hardly. Over 50, nope.
  3. Being both lean and jacked: High-level bodybuilders struggle with this, even with PED use.
  4. The actors “coded language”: Chicken, broccoli, rice, and hours of training. That only leads to nutrient deficiency. And overtraining.
  5. Really big shoulders: It’s difficult to develop huge shoulders. Even with PED use.
  6. Little sleep: PEDs help with recovery.
  7. Their exercise plans: 200 pushups and 200 pull-ups. Come on.

I would add another “red flag” to this:

8. Losing gains quickly after their roles: You will lose muscle when you stop exercising, of course. But losing dozens of pounds almost instantly. Suspicious.


What people think when they hear PEDs

The problem is this: When people hear PEDs or steroids they think about humongous bodybuilders with mountains of muscles everywhere. And sure that’s true. They’re taking PEDs.

But remember Lance Armstrong also used PEDs, not looking anywhere near like a bodybuilder. He’s not even close to a muscular actor by today’s standards. Sure, that’s because his training and PED use had a completely different purpose. The point is: Using PEDs won’t make you look like a bodybuilder.


Unnatural is becoming less recognizable

Finally, I get to the point I want to make: As male actors in Hollywood get more and more muscular for their leading roles, natural and unnatural become unrecognizable to the average person.

Muscular physiques seen on screens in some of the biggest movies of all time, delude millions of young men and women into thinking these body ideals are naturally obtainable and — even worse — required to be healthy or fit, to be attractive or desirable, to find a life partner or attract the opposite sex. This has to stop.

It results in young men chasing this unobtainable body image without ever getting close to it. And this oftentimes results in low self-esteem, mental health issues, overtraining, improper nutrition, injury, or PED use. This has to stop.

These Hollywood celebrities would look just as handsome without their crazy body transformations. Most of them were muscular enough, to begin with. But Hollywood is pushing towards more muscular development each year. It’s getting harder and harder for actors to keep up with these standards. So, how are “average” men supposed to catch up?

They’re not.

That’s why PED use in teenage boys and girls is on the rise. 
That’s why PED use and sales in gyms are consistently increasing. This has to stop.

This has to stop!

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